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What are the signs of credit card abuse?

Credit cards are useful in many ways, but they carry a high risk of problems if you do not handle them responsibly. If you are starting to feel uncomfortable with your use of credit, you may be heading for financial trouble. Fortunately, recognizing the signs of misuse now may allow you to change your ways before more significant issues arise.

According to The Balance, one of the most obvious signs of misuse is the inability to pay the full balance on each card. If you often pay only the minimum balance, you may need to curb your spending. It is a good idea to use your card only for purchases that you can afford and pay off in full at the end of the month. However, many credit card holders find it easy to charge items that they would never buy if they had to pay cash up front. If you cannot pay for a particular item, you probably cannot afford it. Additionally, a monthly habit of spending more than you pay off at the end will only cause your debt to snowball until you become overwhelmed.

Another potential red flag is juggling your accounts in order to make payments. Using one card to pay off another, or avoiding payment on one in order to afford the other, means you probably have too much debt. One way to help avoid this problem is to limit the number of cards you have. Keeping fewer accounts and checking their statements faithfully may help you stay on track financially. You are also probably relying too much on credit cards if you max them out on a regular basis.  Lastly, you should not use credit to meet the basic needs of life. If your debt or lack of income has forced you to use credit for food, clothing or housing, you should reevaluate your financial situation and develop a plan to redirect your course. This information is provided for educational purposes, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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